Entries in the 'About Social Media' Category

Is Google Wave the Future of Software?

I didn’t “get” Google Wave when I first tried it.  It wasn’t like any other forum, wiki, or project management software I’ve used before.  (And believe me, I’ve used a lot of them.)  What’s so great about it?

Now I get it.  Google Wave is easier and more communicative than any other collaboration tool I’ve used before.  That’s what makes it better.  I’m not going to teach you how to use Google Wave here — if you haven’t used it, watch the Google Wave. Instead, let me summarize why I think Google Wave might be the future of software:

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New Chinese Translations for opentaps / opentaps新的中文翻译

Thanks to 袁徐磊 (Yuan Xulei) from Tsinghua University and Nanguache.com in Beijing, we now have new Chinese translations for opentaps.  感谢清华大学南瓜车的袁徐磊捐献的opentaps中文翻译! Here is opentaps CRM in Chinese — 请看中文的opentaps CRM:

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opentaps Jobs on Twitter

I’m seeing a steady stream of jobs and projects for opentaps from many different sources.  I will try to re-tweet them as I see them, so if you are an opentaps service provider, please subscribe to us on twitter at http://twitter.com/opentaps.

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Social Media, Networking, and Networks

Eric Qualman‘s talk in Atlanta earlier this month got me thinking some more.  I started to play with words: “social media,” “social network,” “networking”…what did it all mean?  Interestingly enough, after a while the words themselves revealed a pattern.  Here are my notes on hotel stationery which I’d like to share with you.

Let me show you with an all-too-LA example:

tv-conent-media-networks-pl

In the age of television,

  • media was how content was transmitted: cable, satellite
  • content was the shows
  • networks like ABC, NBC, HBO, and ESPN bundled the content and broadcast them over media to viewers, who used
  • platforms to view the content.  The most common platform was the TV, and then later VHS (remember those?), DVD’s, TiVO, and now Hulu showed up.
  • And networking was the act of gathering up content for distribution.  Power breakfasts at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, next to the old CAA building.

So what does it look like today in the social media world?

social-conent-media-network

Today, we have:

  • Media Twitter , Blogger, WordPress, and Facebook
  • Content are all the blogs, tweets, videos out there
  • Platforms are the PC’s, iPhone’s, Blackberrys, and tablets we’re using to play the content
  • And now: networks are still the aggregators of the content.  Google does it with search.  Facebook does it with the friends network.  But anyone can do it in this day and age — even you.  Just start gathering up the content I’ll like and broadcast it on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter, and I’ll join your network.
  • networking with all the bloggers, twitterers, and movie makers (or open source projects) out there.

What Does It All Mean?

We all want to make a big splash by coming up with the next Facebook or iPhone.  But if you look at the history of TV, you’d realize that most of the money was made by the content producer (like Aaron Spelling) or networks (think Ted Turner), not by the providers of media (Adelphia?) or makers of platforms (Zenith.)

I think the same will be true of the new social media world.  Ten years from now, we’ll be glad to have our iPhones and tablets and use Facebook and Twitter, but what makes our lives better day in and day out–and what we will pay for day in and day out–will be great content producers and the networks, big and small, which gather them for us.

What Does This Have to do with Open Source?

Actually, everything.  But let me save that for a future post.

Social Media and Networking for Small Businesses

I listened to a very good talk last weekend by Eric Qualman, author of Socialnomics, about social media and social networks. Eric had a lot of  good examples about how companies such as JetBlue, McDonald’s, and Burger King are taking advantage of social media to promote their brands and their products.

But what about small businesses? What if you are a startup or a neighborhood business, and you don’t have the millions of potential fans that a JetBlue or McDonald’s would have — not yet anyway?

This is actually a situation we’ve faced ourselves, starting opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM on a shoestring. And looking back, we’ve only been able to do it because we were able to tap into an online social network called “open source,” which is an online collaborative community of software developers that predates Twitter, Facebook, Google — even the Internet itself.

What we’ve learned don’t contradict what Eric and other people have said about social marketing, but there are a few twists I would like to point out:

Join a Bigger Network

When you are small, your network is also small, so you try becoming a prominent part of a larger network, instead of just promoting in your own network. For us, this meant making ourselves known in the larger open source community of software developers and users looking for open source software by releasing our software and our ideas to them.  Fortunately, people liked them.

Network (verb) through the Networks (noun)

Use social networks as an opportunity to network with other people in compatible fields.  For example, we’ve benefitted from associating with other open source software projects, such as Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Funambol, Pentaho, JasperReports, etc.

Be Memorable

Most importantly, be memorable. Be different. Believe it or not, the small business has the advantage here. People are always looking for interesting new things to talk about.  If you are a small business with a memorable product or service, the word will spread a lot faster now than ever before.
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